This week we are bringing you a treat. An extra blog post and a great idea for Halloween. Spooky Jack O'lantern macarons with chocolate orange centres. Perfect if you are looking for ideas for a kids party for example… Macarons have never looked so spooky.
So lets get baking…
Macaron Shells (makes approximately 30-40 macarons)
Milk Chocolate & orange Ganache
1) Macaron Shells: Sieve your powder into a bowl check there are no lumps and extra course bits. You want smooth fine powders. Mix these and set aside.
2) With a stand mixer fitted on a clean bowl and with clean beaters, whisk your egg whites and caster sugar on low for a couple of minutes, then medium and then high. You should end up with very firm stiff peaks.
3) Tip in your almond/icing sugar/turmeric (if using) mixture into the meringue and fold using a spatula until it has incorporated with the meringue. You don't have to be too gentle with this, but you don't want to go crazy either. You want all the powder incorporated with no sneaky dry bits!
5) After 30 turns, take a teaspoon of the mixture out and drop it back for it to be incorporated back in. If this takes about 20 seconds you have the right consistency. The consistency should be like lava or treacle. Do not over-mix or your batter will be too runny and difficult to pipe. You’ll also end up with flat macarons. If you under-mix the macarons will not be smooth and look lumpy and misshapen!
6) Fill a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle with macaron mixture and pipe into 3.5-4cm rounds (using the template underneath as a guide) or baking paper on a lined mat. This recipe makes enough to make 70 individual macaron shells, so you may need to have a few trays ready.
USE THE FREE TEMPLATE PROVIDED BY CLICKING ON THE BUTTON BELOW. OR TO MAKE IT EVEN EASIER USE THE SILICONE BAKING MATS PROVIDED IN THE MON DESSERT MACARON MAKING KITS. LEARN MORE HERE
7) Once piped, slam the tray down on your kitchen counter several times to eliminate any air bubbles in your piped macaron mixture. Leave your trays to rest in a cool area for 30min -1hr. They are ready to bake when they have turned matt and you are able to gently touch the surface of the shells without anything sticking to your finger.
8) Preheat conventional ovens to 150 degrees Celsius with the oven door slightly open (wedge a spoon in the door). For fan ovens with good aeration preheat oven to 125 degrees Celsius (with door closed). Bake each tray of macarons individually for 20 minutes. If you are using a silicone mat the baking can be a little longer. It's all about trial and error with your specific oven! Do not be afraid to put them back in the oven if they are not done. They should have feet and come off relatively easily from the mat/paper.
9) If they still do not come off after 30 minutes, leave the macarons to dry out and turn off your hot oven for a further 15 minutes. Then peel off the macarons slowly and let them dry upside down.
10) Once cool take half of your shells and draw on pumpkin mouths with your food pen as in the picture below.
11) Filling: Make this the day before or while your macarons are baking. Heat the orange juice in a pan over medium heat until it is just about boiling hot. Chop the chocolate very finely. Put this into a bowl chocolate, Pour the hot liquid over the chocolate and whisk vigorously. Keep whisking until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
12) Add in a few drops of almond extract if using. Mix until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes to thicken to desired consistency.
13) Pour into a piping bag with round nozzle*
14) To fill, pipe a 1.5cm blob of ganache onto the underside of a undecorated shell. Top with a pumpkin macaron shell and repeat the process until all your shells have been sandwiched.
15) Place macarons into a box and leave in the fridge for ideally 1-3 days to mature and absorb the filling flavours and become really moist. But don’t worry if you can’t resist eating them straight away I often can’t! You could always eat a couple and save the rest to mature…
*All ingredients are weighed in grams for consistency - use an electronic kitchen scale to weigh out ingredients.
* Use a tall glass to prop up your piping bag, this way they will be easier to fill.
* Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is at the right temperature and check for hot spots.
* Macarons are best served at room temperature or 20 minutes out of the refrigerator.
* If all of this seems like hard work and you need some spooky macarons quick! Order them here